Will Adrian Peterson Win The Rushing Title?

Packers Vikings Football 
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After last week, when they had a chance to lock up their playoff spot, it’s sorta pointless to talk about or get your hopes up for a post-season this year. They could come out and stink or they could play wonderfully and still not make it with a motived team playing ‘ second-stringers.

So absent the burden and frustration of phantom playoff hopes, my interest will be focused narrowly on my hope for and improved play for . And one probably depends upon the other.

The ‘ defense is 30th in the league against the run but even a really bad defense can improve significantly against the run by deploying eight or nine men in the box. So we’ll see, but there’s plenty of reason to hope for a big ground game for the Vikings and for in particular.

The one thing the Vikings will have to do for Peterson to have a big day, of course, will be to make the Broncos pay for stacking the box. And that depends upon Jackson making those plays, something he hasn’t done consistently.

Maybe the Vikings should come out in no-receiver sets. Sit the receivers in favor of tight ends and fullbacks and maybe an extra offensive lineman. Say to the Broncos, we’re running the ball; try and stop us. It ain’t gonna happen but I’d love to see it.

Peterson needs only 12 yards to overtake ‘s , who is out for the season. But in order to win the title, Adrian will have to significantly outplay who has 1,418 yards to Peterson’s 1,305. The problem is that the Chargers play the today.

In the passing game, I want to see Jackson make better decisions and not get flustered in the face of a heavy rush. He seems to do just fine when he’s got sufficient time in the pocket, but he’s going to have to learn play well under pressure.

Those are my modest hopes at the end of a disappointing season.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Washington Redskins Preview

Things seem to be falling the ‘ way today. beat the and, playing for home-field advantage (and this time of year, playing at Lambeau is a decided advantage), the had their ass handed to them by the .

With a win tonight, the Vikings will clinch a playoff berth.

But the scare me.

They are ninth against the run, so it’s going to be a tough game tonight. They will probably not have to put eight or nine men in the box to stop the run, which means it will be more difficult for to make them pay.

The Vikings offensive line will need to play much better tonight than they did last week, especially . Birk was man-handled by the Bears back-up defensive tackle last week. Despite Washington’s tough run D, the Vikings are going to have to pound the ball often to make the play-action work. And, by the way, there’s always an excellent chance of Adrian Peterson ripping off a long TD run or two. He nearly had two last week.

How bout a dual backfield with both Peterson and Chester Taylor and let the Redskins pick their poison about who they want to stop? I’ve been waiting for this all season and I think today is the day to implement it.

The Redskins are 18th against the pass, so there’s a good chance we’ll see Jackson toss the ball with some frequency but he’ll have to avoid the mistakes he made against the Bears last week. He’ll also be without wide receiver .

This is a game where it will be a huge advantage to get out on top early and then pummel the Skins to demoralize them early. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bevel call a trick play on the fist series.

What scares me the most about Washington, though, is .

First, since he hasn’t started in 10 years, there’s precious little tape of the guy, so the Vikings defense has had one and a half games worth of material with which to prepare for him. Second, Collins has been in the same system for years, so presumably he knows his offense inside and out. Lastly, the Vikings have historically played poorly against backup QBs.

Washington has the 11th ranked rushing offense and despite boasting a dangerous duo of and , but I’m only concerned with them to the degree that they are able to set up a credible play-action.

The Redskins have the 4th worst special teams unit, so could have a big game returning kicks. And that could prove to be the difference in this game.

I expect most of this game will be a fight for field position, tough and close. The single most promising thing that emerged from last week’s game was that the Vikings played badly but still found a way to overcome their poor play and turnovers to win the game. That’s something we haven’t seen in a while.

I don’t know that I buy into the Vikings being the hottest team going into the playoffs, as so many national pundits have proclaimed them to be, but a win tonight will go a long way toward convincing me.

Sports Writers Who Don’t Play Sports

Among of ‘s performance Monday night is that the QB would "bail out on a game because of a leg cramp, as he did Monday night."

This kind of stuff drives me nuts. I can only assume that Souhan does not play football or perhaps any sport because he clearly doesn’t understand how a leg cramp feels.

It doesn’t last long but it hurts a lot and freaks you out even more because your body is behaving in a way it does not usually behave. It’s not a condition with which you can effectively play.

There was plenty to criticize about Jackson’s game but taking himself out for a few plays because of painful and disruptive leg cramps is not one of them.

And is Souhan had had just a bit of experience with the sport he writes about, he’d understand that.

Update: Add to the list of desk jockey sports writers: ""

Update II: Sadly, add the Star Tribune’s generally very good Vikings beat writer Kevin Seifert to the list: ""

I’m On Google StreetView!

but hadn’t notice until The Vet pointed it out, that we’re on StreetView. You can’t explicitly identify us, but but you can definitely see the crew we play with every Saturday of the year on StreetView.

If you look straight ahead, across the other side of the parking lot, between the cars you can see some people seated on the ground under the shade of the trees. That me and my crew resting in between football games. Amazing!

Delmon Young Video Highlights

I couldn’t find many of them, but here are a few video highlights of the new slugger, . Young is the second of three players highlighted. WORK WARNING: The following video uses a soundtrack replete with profanity:

This clip shows the infamous incident where Young threw a bat at an umpire, and he definitely threw it:

400 Yards For Adrian Peterson?

Adrian Peterson
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The since was inserted into the starting lineup. is maturing, . It’s showing.  And then there’s the rookie phenom of the decade,

Peterson has amazed us since the first game of the season, long before our offensive line pulled it together and became an machine. So with the line opening up gaping holes, the receivers opening things up with their downfield blocking, and the credible threat of a passing game, could Adrian Peterson run for 400 yards in a game, ?

I really don’t see why not, especially today. While the 49ers are not the least effective team against the rush, they rank 27th in the NFL against the rush. They are giving up 124 yards a game to running backs not named Adrian Peterson. And there’s the rub.

Such gawdy numbers are not all that implausible when you consider that the guy . All Peterson needs to do is rip of three or four long runs–a feat for which he’s entirely capable–and he’s easily within striking distance of four hundred.

The Vikings need to account for 49ers cornerback and their outstanding rookie linebacker, . Willis has 128 tackles and the season ain’t over yet. He’s supposed to be a sideline-to-sideline terror so watch for the Vikings to run between the tackles today, right at him and bet that our offensive line and Adrian Peterson can overpower him.

I absolutely believe Peterson can run for 400 yards in one game. The greatest limitation to that accomplishment may very well be Brad Childress himself by pulling Peterson before he’s through.

All Of A Sudden, The Vikings Are A Good Team

Let’s remember that the last three games the have played were against the dreadful against the and on possibly the worst game of his career, and the free-falling .

That said, the Vikings have been an infinitely more palatable team to watch during this winning streak.

The Vikings Offensive Line

Adrian Peterson
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Not coincidentally, the offensive line has been awesome for the past three games. It looks like we’ve found our starters on the right side with guard and tackle . Cook took care of in the Giants game and has been burying people on the run blocking.

They are giving plenty of time to throw the ball and are opening massive holes for and .

Tarvaris Jackson

But the single biggest improvement has come at the quarterback position, and that makes a huge difference.

I’ve been about as critical of Brad Childress as can be over playing Jackson when he clearly wasn’t ready to play. And I’ve complained that Jackson has not even shown any progress thus far.

Well, he has now. During the New York game, he wasn’t spectacular, but he made no  mistakes and he did connect with on a long bomb, a pass he hadn’t been able to make till then. Against the Lions, it wasn’t just that he kept the mistakes to a minimum (his only mistake was the interception), he actually showed progress in his development. A lot of it.

Nearly all of Jackson’s passes were dead-on accurate; he threw with touch when that was required and drilled it in there when he needed a bullet. He knew when to pull the ball down and run it and when he did, he knew how to slide to avoid the big hit. He made some plays with his athleticism, but it wasn’t his weapon of first choice.

Jackson showed pocket presence; he stepped up in the pocket to avoid the rush and looked comfortable doing so. That’s the first time I’ve seen him looking natural in the pocket, feeling the pressure, and sliding around to avoid it. His timing passes were right on time.

Jackson has been looking off defenders and he read the blitzes accurately and got the ball to the right receivers to make the defense pay. His decision making was superb.

Maybe the Vikings coaches have scaled down the playbook to the plays with which Jackson is most comfortable, or the offensive line has started to click, or maybe the game just begun to slow down for Jackson. Whatever it is, I hope it continues because Jackson actually looked great against the Lions.

Adrian Peterson

It helps enormously, of course, to have Adrian Peterson back in the lineup. The guy has missed two games, yet he still leads the league in rushing. He was his usual self against the Lions: 116 yards on 15 carries.

Let me just get this on the record: Adrian Peterson will run for 400 yards in a game this season and his best chance of doing that will be this Sunday against the .

There, I said it.

Vikings Defense

On defense, the Vikes are blitzing a lot more but are not getting burned because they do such an incredible job of disguising their defense. and and will creep up to the line of scrimmage, showing blitz, and hold…hold…hold…until the second before the sack and then drop into coverage. Two plays later they’ll show the same look and come with a full on blitz.

The artistry of maintaining a look until the very last second is helping to confuse opposing quarterbacks. The Vikings D is getting plenty of pressure now, just not with their front four. The nice thing is, with the offense now seemingly capable of scoring a lot, the defense can afford to lay off the blitzes and just bring pressure with the front four because they’re backed by a big lead.

It’s clear that the Vikings gained a lot of confidence by trouncing the Giants and that carried over into the Detroit game. That helps a lot. You play a lot better when you’re confident you’re going to play well.

I hate to get my hopes up because I’ve done that too often with this team, but considering the Vikings’ remaining schedule, they have every reason to be confident. Everyone they have left to play this year is a losing team.